Information already referred to yesterday about a seizure of blood ivory at the port of Dar es Salaam was confirmed overnight. Sources in the Tanzanian port city gave the number of tusks confiscated as 81, indicative of the slaughter of at least another 41 elephant, perhaps even more. Questions are being asked and investigations have been launched already how the two suspects who were arrested with the loot, managed to get into the harbour and suspicions have been voiced already that they had accomplices in position of power giving them access without being subjected to gate controls. This latest find of blood ivory comes hot on the heels of President Kikwete announcing in his New Year’s address to the nation that operation Tokomeza will resume soon again, but with different rules of engagement and a focus mainly on bringing the commercial style poaching gangs to justice while leaving pastoralists and herders largely alone.

In a related development it was also learned that the Tanzania Ports Authority will be introducing additional screening equipment during the course of 2014 to check the contents of containers before they are loaded on ships, though no one was able to confirm if TPA would in conjunction with TANAPA and other security organs deploy sniffer dogs – a measure which is hugely successful in Kenya where the dogs have found much concealed contraband, not just at the sea ports but also airports where transit baggage as well as checked in bags are now routinely checked out. For now, a good result of increased vigilance and intelligence gathering as reportedly a tip off led to the seizure and arrests.

Source : Wolfgang H Thome


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